Rural development within the context of development, sustainability and rural issues – some constitutional, policy and implementation perspectives

29 March 2011

This article provides an overview of some developments, internationally, regionally and in the SADC, in relation to development, that may be expected to influence the South African government’s response to the development needs of the people in the country. An overview is provided of the somewhat haphazard way in which the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 refers to the need for and objective of development (including rural development) in the country. Through their explanatory outline of three distinct phases in South African rural development law and policy: 1994–2000 (the Reconstruction and Development Programme and related documents and their implementation); 2000–April 2009 (the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Strategy and its implementation) and April 2009+ (the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme and related documents), the authors review some of the historical strengths and future prospects related to rural development in South Africa. Based on an assessment of historical trends, a number of recommendations are made for government’s way forward in the implementation of the constitutional objectives, law and policy relevant to rural development in the country.